I would like to think that my intellectual and creative education began in Montessori School, where I can still remember the vivid colors, sounds, and touch of the many activities that surrounded me – the Light Bright and beaded counting instruments, the self structured independence and self-paced development methods, the music classes and art projects – all remain vivid memories which apply to my current interest in multimedia.

Growing up in a musical tradition, I played jazz and classical trombone and considered a career as a trombonist. I am most moved by performance and music I have played and experienced in a live setting.  Live performances have always had that sense of elation and allure for me, but none more so than a large orchestration or intimate jazz atmosphere.  Why I chose not to pursue music performance is another autobiography in itself, but I took with me the value of experiencing performance, listening, dancing, and creating feeling and emotion through different sounds.

Beginning in high school, I began to explore my intellectual and creative self, through feminism, riot grrrl DIY culture, and zine writing and distribution.  I absorbed the writings of third-wave feminists who discussed their experience as young women living in my generation, rather than the distant proclamations of second wave provacateurs like Gloria Steinem.  I wrote prose, designed magazine layouts, and engaged in a nascent style of critical analysis by engaging in discussions on race, sexuality, privilege, and gender.  Books like Rock She Wrote, Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation & Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, inspired me to pursue an education in an all woman’s environment, where I felt I would be able to thrive academically, creatively, and personally.

Throughout college, I engaged in coursework that provoked me, took subjects I knew would be challenging, but ultimately sought context for my personal story, within a global environment.    I began immediately with anthropology and government courses, but didn’t realize these studies would lead me to philosophy, U.S. history, post-colonial literature, museum studies, the history of photography, Native American Contemporary Art, economic and development theory, among others.  In addition, I managed to take some art courses, in Photography, Drawing, and Graphic Design, which helped me see the world through perspective, attention to detail, composition – a completely new plane than my strict academic coursework.  While seemingly different areas of study, as I took each course, I felt this interdisciplinary approach enriched my understanding more intensely than before, and was my inspiration in seeking a theoretical and practice approach to media studies.

I was most profoundly impacted by intersections of media, politics, art, and American history.  Some of these images I encountered during my undergraduate studies completely engaged these sensibilities.

The first was an image I encountered in anthropology coursework and also in a History of Photography class, of Edward Curtis’ Hopi Dancers (Curtis).  I was fascinated with his attempt to create a vision of “Indianness” which had political, social and cultural implications.  Nevertheless, his photographs remain beautiful portraits of people whose generations of families now living have attempted to identify and repatriate these objects and family photos.  While the dancers were misrepresented, Curtis’ work remains controversial and widely discussed among art scholars, Native American scholars, and anthropologists.  The ability to enjoy aesthetic without context is a romantic concept to me, but the Curtis work demonstrated how I no longer was able to think without a critical lens.

Decades later, artists like Robert Frank and Cindy Sherman, among others, were reshaping the American landscape with their own critical lenses.  Robert Frank’s travels throughout moments in Americana are captured here, in Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey, where he takes a critical eye of American patriotism (Frank).

Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits during the late 1900’s took this Americana into the sphere of the personal and captured seemingly everyday moments for women and offset them with strangeness (Sherman).

Through these images and compositions, I began a deliberate search for multi-media projects that had a political message while maintaining a certain aesthetic.

As a creative person, I have always been drawn to portraiture – and this interest has taken me beyond photography towards new kinds of media portraiture – through radio narratives, video blogging, and storytelling.  I spent a semester abroad on the coast of Kenya collecting the narratives of a village and their relationship to a community operated museum, it’s history and it’s curator, through recordings, video, and ethnographic research. I hope to continue exploring these intersections creatively – in studying the special relationships of cultural institutions to their communities, better understanding the culture creators (or curators) and their intent, listening to narratives, and analyzing or creating portraits of individuals.

As a professional, I have found my perfect niche at StoryCorps, where the personal narrative becomes public through the medium of radio, where traditional methods of oral history and ethnography are popularized, and where voice and the act of experiencing listening and an intimate conversation can have ripple effects on ourselves, both as social beings and also as a family member or friend.  I have listened to thousands of individuals, organizations, and even far away countries tell me their desire to tell their story through personal narratives.  Radio is a field I plan to stay in, and the ability to work in radio in any format appeals to me.  One day I can see myself as a radio producer, station manager, or sound designer.  Eventually, I want to take my creative field and pursue a second masters in Arts and Cultural policy, so I may be able to secure the field of radio, media, and cultural expression as a public institution.

Throughout my coursework at the New School, I hope to engage in inquiries about New Media, Communication theory, media policy and reform, media management and social change, specifically, those with a queer or feminist content and discourse – whether it’s from a feminist interpretation of the AMC series Mad Men or Sarah Palin and gender’s political role in the media to the practice of management techniques which encourage free thought that facilitates social change.  By adding this perspective to the media discourse, I also would like to gain more experience with photography, sound and web design, and radio work.

Some questions I have been asking a lot to myself lately, but plan to pursue with papers and research are:  Is YouTube revolutionary?; how does vlogging intersect the ‘personal’ narrative with a public one?; how does media bashing affect the constitutional rights to free press?; how does sound, speech, and voice influence an audience?; what about sound in a public setting and it’s affect on learning, community, and recreating landscape?; where are there transgressive media moments and acts and who is performing them?; which media management theories are being used, what’s their history, and are they effective?; in what ways is media (re)defining gender, class, sexuality, and race (using specific examples or genres) through language?; how are museums incorporating multi-media into their environments and what seems to work?  Most of these questions have arrived in my readings, including literature, theory, film, and television.  I never have felt able to address these appropriately or come to a conclusion without extensive reading and practice.   Throughout my studies I hope to achieve these intersections and answer these questions.


The Purdue OWL. 26 Aug. 2008. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. 5 October 2008 <http://owl.english.purdue.edu&gt;.

Curtis, Edward Sheriff. Watching the Dancers – Hopi. 1906. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA. 5 October 2008 < http://www.edwardcurtis.com/vintage/9983.html&gt;.

Frank, Robert. Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey. 1955 – 1956. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. 5 October 2008. <http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/all/parade_hoboken_new_jersey_robert_frank&gt;.

Sherman, Cindy. Untitled Film Still – #3. 1977. The MoMA, New York, NY. 5 October 2008 < http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/1997/sherman/untitled03.html&gt;.